Former Bear Graham Mink made sure the Bears didn't set any records last night as he scored 2 goals in a 3-1 Rochester win.
The Bears return home for their final 2 regular season home games tonight and tomorrow. One win and Hershey will set an AHL record for wins in a season with 58.
There are 5 games remaining in the regular season and the Bears will see only 2 teams in those five games. Starting tonight with a visit from Syracuse and then a visit from Norfolk Sunday before heading on the road to face Syracuse on Tuesday and then 2 games in Norfolk Friday and Saturday.
Hershey needs only 2 points, one win, to clinch the #1 overall seed for the AHL playoffs. Hamilton trails the Bears by 8 points and each team has 5 games remaining.
Syracuse comes in having lost 6 of their last 8 games which includes 2 losses to the Bears by a combined score of 11-4.
The Bears have never had two 100 point players in the same season but that could change this year. Keith Aucoin has already reached the 100 point mark, his first, and Alexandre Giroux is sitting on 97 with 5 games to play. Considering both those players, and Chris Bourque, average over 1 point per game it seems likely that G should get to 100.
The playoff race in the Eastern Conference is still undecided as the final spot could come down to the final game of the season. Norfolk is chasing Bridgeport and Lowell for the final spot and a chance to play Hershey in the first round.
Wilkes Barre isn't out of the woods yet either as they are only 3 points ahead of Norfolk with 1 fewer game to play.
Hershey will likely play a huge role in determining who they play in the first round beginning April 14th. With 3 of Norfolk's final 5 games coming against the Bears, Hershey will likely help to decide the Admirals fate.
Norfolk's other 2 games are at Binghamton tonight and then home for Wilkes Barre on Wednesday.
Bridgeport has 4 games left. They get Portland, Lowell, Manchester, and Hartford. All but the Lowell game is at home. Definitely not an easy schedule as 2 of those teams (Portland and Manchester) have already clinched playoff spots while Lowell and Hartford are still fighting. Although, Hartford is likely eliminated just not mathematically yet.
Lowell also has 4 games remaining. Worcester, Bridgeport, Portland, and Providence and just like Bridgeport 3 of those are at home. A little easier than Bridgeport with Providence in there but the top 2 teams in the Atlantic are not going to be easy games.
The final week is going to be interesting. Much less stressful than last year when the division was yet to be decided but no less interesting throughout the rest of the Eastern Conference.
Check back Monday or Tuesday and I will have an opinion on each possible matchup and which we should be rooting for next weekend.